Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman

Wasatch & Western Rivers

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Matt Pittman's Passions

Alpine Touring
Fly Fishing
Camping
Backpacking
Alpine Skiing

Matt Pittman's Bio

Boston native (aggressive driver, foul mouth) turned Midwest Hoosier (corn fed) prior to being adopted by the Wasatch and surrounding rivers.

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on May 27, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have abused this cataraft for the last 5 years on flat water and rivers. While it is billed as a flat water and wind performer (the quad pontoons = low profile and steady tracking) this boat has been very reliable in moderate rapids (Class 2) and keeping pace with smaller and taller pontoons.

Specifics: @65lb with capacity @ 400lb with aluminum frame and 9ft length. Pontoons roughly 10in diameter and the fabric is 500 and 1000 PVC with 4 valves (one for each pontoon).

Extended use and Reasoning for purchase: low profile is key when dealing with lake or canyon winds, quad pontoons = extra security should you get a leak or major incident during multi or singular day use, load capacity can handle multi day trips with extra gear, length contributes to tracking and support for larger guys (6 foot 3 and plenty of space and comfort).

Extended Use Feedback: this has been a completely reliable and useful tool tackling small and large fishing objectives. Multiple days on the S Fork of the Teton when weighted down with gear and tackling severe rapids (for any cataraft) sealed my opinion. Frame is easy to assemble and the pontoons have been incredibly reliable (patching is easy if you have a puncture). Rarely rely on the oars and cheap flippers and the boats ability to track provide great fishing. I have ditched the anchor and motor mount to save weight. Low profile doesn't alleviate extra effort in wind (Strawberry or CO lakes), but it definitely helps and is great for shallow water. I would definitely recommend pairing with a small pump and both oar tethers and stops. An emergency kit includes all you need for repairs and a seat bag helps create more space. The frame bags have ample room and the rear frame can accommodate multiple dry bags and a cooler. Recommend buying a rod holder to carry an extra rig and/or reliable storage while rowing or tackling larger rapids/wind. Matter of preference re small boats, but I cannot say enough about this cataraft!

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on February 18, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

There is a reason you see this bag on most boats and slung over guides shoulders - tough as nails, easy to use, most waterproof and, in my opinion, simply the best bag out there. 4+ hard years on my second generation bag, no issues and no reason to upgrade to the improved Gen3 (yet).
This bag has stood strong through intense sun, rain, snow, mud, sand, beer (oops!) and doubles as my cooler for summer concerts or outings. Super comfortable to sling over your shoulder and handles everything you can throw at it. Know a few Steelheaders who have used as a float to kick across deeper pools/runs...
Space - plenty of it. I stash fly/streamer boxes, reels, line, valuables (phone/wallet/MP3), food, sunscreen, repair kit, hat, jacket (in stuff sack), kitchen sink... Friends often laugh at how much crap I bring, but plenty of room. It will easily swallow 12 beers and ice too (no leaking) if you need to justify its purchase price to the powers that be (have used for carryon luggage too - take that Samsonite!).
The new Gen3 is firmer and has a removable insert (aka workbench) and an outside zip/pocket. The fabric is a bit beefier, but still the same 100% nylon with a PU exterior coating and TPU interior coating. One preference on Gen2 vs 3, I prefer less on the outside (Gen3 handles and extra zipper) are just addt ways to snag a line in the boat.
No end to singing this bags praises. Been in several inches of water (in the boat) for days at a time, no issues. Been dragged in mud, sand, across rocks, thrown into every vehicle/campsite/boat w/out issue/damage. Carrier of everything you need/want for a day (or multiples) on the water.
Tips: as with any waterproof zipper, use a cleaner from time to time (like Zip Care by GearAid) to keep the zipper working best. It takes time to break the zipper in, but the thing is totally reliable. In the boat, remove the shoulder strap and store inside the bag, helps eliminate any snag run-ins with your line.

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on February 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

From a small independent company, WM delivers an outstanding product from their factory in San Jose, CA. They pride themselves in the highest quality product, material and customer experience - all right here in the USA!

I have been using the Kodiak GWS for a few seasons, outstanding product. the GWS varies a little from the MF model, basically shell weight. The GWS version is a perfect/true 0 degree bag that I have stretched into -10 range w/out issue. I am 6'3" and needed a long/broad bag to accommodate extra clothing and touring liners. at 7', the long is 67x58x41 with 34 oz of the highest quality down available. Weighing in at 3.8 lb's, this bag can easily be compressed into a compression sack and alleviating space concerns found with most winter bags (try stuffing a GWS bag inside out to get more compression and simplify the process).

I have used this bag, on snow, w/out a tent, w a tarp and inside a 4 season tent - excels in all situations. The GWS shell sheds precipitation and is windproof. A friend and I were skiing off Wheeler Peak last year and temps were definitely below 0 - basically wore my mid-layers at night and was plenty warm. That said, there is more than enough room to wear down clothing and increase the temp range. Mind the size, this is really well suited for broad shoulders.

Details: draft tube and collar are down and capped with Gore's Windstopper fabric (GWS shell). I have other MF shelled bags from Western and they do a very good job with moisture, but love the options with the GWS shell.

Not for shallow pockets, but an outstanding product that is well worth the price when you need to rely on a winter bag. WM also offers overstuff options if you need to pack a little extra down into the foot box.

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on February 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Litespeed is Lamson's iconic large arbor reel. This reel is VERY tough and lightweight. Definitely compliments any fly rod and have relied on the 1.5 for 3/4 weight line and the 2.0 for 5/6 weight line (basically use the 2.0 for extra backing capacity).

The drag system in all Lamson reels sets them apart: consists of a pair of precisely matched conical elements which are drawn together with spring tension to produce variable rates of smooth rotational braking (all of this is sealed so the drag is free of moisture, salt/grit). Result = smooth and reliable drag system!

Paired both with RIO Gold, personal line preference, and like the non-textured slick coating paired with this reel and a 4-6 weight rod. Pair with a textured option (SA GPX) for a little heavier/more forgiving cast.

Reloaded Litespeed released this year is slightly improved. Refinements include: higher retrieve rate, improved ergonomics, easier line mgt and less mass. Curved arbor have made a light reel even lighter and stores backing into a diameter well for keeping your working line at maximum radius.

Overall, super light and super tough/durable that excels on any rod. This reel does an outstanding job of helping to prevent snags and line damage.

Litespeed 1.5 is 3.25" diameter / 1.10 Width and ONLY 3.38 oz. The 2.0 is 3.5" / 1.10 and 3.74 oz. For my money, this is an outstanding option that will last.

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on February 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have abused this rod for the last two years without issue.
3.5 oz and 31.5 tube size provide a very light, accurate rod capable of throwing large streamers and any rig in between. The VXP provides ultra high line speed for a very smooth and accurate cast. Definitely a great rod for someone getting into fishing and/or needing a stronger rod w/out dropping an addt $200 for a One or The Method. A little more performance out of the higher end Sage rods, but the VXP hangs pretty tight.

Outside of Sage, a Winston GVX is pretty comparable (price) but the VXP plays to the beginner a little better.

I have paired with multiple reels, but stuck with RIO Gold and like the line speed and tighter loop emphasis. This rod has no issue loading line and love it for meaty streamers, long/deep nymphing rigs and hopper/dropper combo's. I have used for smaller dries when an unexpected hatch sprung up, but definitely not ideal for a soft presentation.

This has become my go to rod in the boat or on any larger Western river due to its action and price. If you are looking to get into a larger rod with great speed and lower weight, I would recommend the VXP over more expensive options.

Cons: replace the crappy tube for a stronger/more reliable tube for transport, boat, storage, etc.

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman wrote a review of on February 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I have spent 100+ days with this wader and no issues. Outstanding option for a lighter, full featured and zippered wader. The only consideration is to clean and treat the zipper as it can be tough to pull up/down. Use any zipper cleaner from time to time and a waterproof zipper treatment stick (ZipTech for example) and it eases the zipper and increases the life of the zipper. Based on prior reviews, any waterproof zipper (wader, dry bag, etc.) needs to be treated to increase durability and ease of use.

I have used on foot, in a boat and cataraft without any issues around durability. Definitely not as strong as the G4's, but much lighter and a lot less $. Typically, hard on gear and no concerns.

Full bib is key as there is plenty of additional storage if you want to forego a vest/pack. Plenty of room for boxes, tools, etc. Zipper is perfect for dumping heat and access baggage associated with a few beers on the water. Ease getting these on/off is great and the weight helps if trekking in on foot and carrying the waders with you.

Overall, outstanding feature/functionality for the price. Just remember to treat the zipper to avoid it sticking.

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